Tell us about your career as a director so far
It’s not been the longest but it’s been fun… It’s coming up to a year since I directed my first short, and then I officially started ‘directing’ in August. Since then I’ve mainly been making music videos and the occasional Instagram filter, and then more recently stepped into the big bad world of commercials.
Which 3 projects are you most proud of and why
King Krule ‘Alone, Omen 3’… My short film ‘Las Mujeres de Fuego’ and my ongoing millennial sci-fi project ‘Mundania’. All for many different reasons, I’d say a common factor is how much I feel I managed to pull off under the circumstances – whether that’s teaching myself a new skill or the time frame or the limitations, and how I surprised myself with the outcome.
Can you tell us about ‘Mundania’ and how this VR project came about?
I honestly can’t remember it began so long ago… I think one weekend I got really stressed about social media and it made me feel weird about myself. That then got me writing the basis of the story, which is basically about a woman in her 20s who becomes so obsessed with creating an authentic version of herself online that she fantasises about a perfect version of the world (for her), a digital dreamworld which she ultimately disappears into. It started off as a VR project which I made in Unreal Engine It took about 4 weeks from rookie to first-version which meant not a lot of sleeping. But now it’s evolved beyond that, I’m still working on it. It’s gonna make a comeback.
How has your background and upbringing influenced your work?
l didn’t have one of those super wholesome ‘parents-are-artists-and-play-endless-kate-bush’ childhoods.
When I moved to London and went to art school I used to envy those people, it was so childish. I used to consider my family to be almost entirely un-creative, my mum worked in a bank, my dad worked in a bank, it seemed so plain. But as I got older I really started to understand and appreciate my parents as individuals rather than just authority figures, maybe something I lost sight of as an angsty teenager. I’ve always grown up with stories of my parents when they were my age, my Dad DJ-ing in the Leeds acid house scene and putting on raves. They had me super young so my Dad was still putting on raves up until I was about 13, I remember him blasting out this Funkstar Deluxe remix of ‘Sun is Shining’ by Bob Marley from the top floor of our house on Sunday mornings, that’s one of my clearest memories from being a kid. That and ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’ in the car. My Dad’s passion for music and both my parents passion for having a good time definitely influenced me creatively.
More recently my Dad has started up a festival back at home in Jersey, there’s been talk of it for years and years but now we are finally working together designing it and writing stories for it. The festival is a labyrinth of bizarre experiences and big set-designed stages, all with an elaborate backstory. It’s become a playgrounds for our imaginations to go completely west. The looseness in the way that we work and create for the festival is really influencing my practice at the moment, especially the flood of mad ideas coming from my Dad’s brain. A lot of the ideas don’t actually materialise, but its always good to hear them. Normally the ones that don’t happen are the best ones. So yeah, when I look at my Dad with his weird ideas that tend to not happen because they’re so weird, and my Mum with her recitals of a poem she wrote when she was 10 years old… it all kinda starts to make sense. My brain definitely wouldn’t work in the same way if it wasn’t for them.
Above Photography: Reuben Bastienne-Lewis
In the King Krule video, we understand that it’s your boyfriend with the crazy big ears. What’s the story there?
Jack does have big ears we just made them bigger.
In the BTS of the Voxi commercial, there’s a really funny bit where you tell the actress to imagine the camera is her mate. Did it feel slightly voyeuristic directing from somewhere else?
Yeah it was pretty strange. I mean it’s always pretty voyeuristic when you’re directing, looking at the monitor or watching from afar… but this was next level. The fact we were looking through video-chat as well made it feel super personal, and like people were acting directly to me rather than the camera.
You have directed two videos for pop-sensation Ashniko. What was the inspiration behind ‘Working Bitch’?
Working Bitch was based on Cowgirls and Aliens. That’s it. Cowgirl Aliens… Alien Cowgirls… whichever way you prefer. The whole thing was a bit of a brain explosion between Ash & I. We both love aliens & Dolly Parton so it was sort of a dream collab. We wanted it to be weird and we wanted it to be cheesy, and bedazzled to fuck. The backstory was that a little girl in the 80s sent a copy of Dolly Parton’s 9-5 up into space, attached to a balloon. The tape was then discovered by an all-female civilisation at the edge of the universe, creating an entire world of alien Dolly Parton super-fans. We filmed it at this tiny little working mens club in Kilburn, run by a lady called Maggie. It was very Irish, and attached to a Catholic church and Primary School… which was kind of funny considering the lyrics and content of the song. But we stand by the fact that they didn’t hear… or they didn’t care. We basically occupied the back room (where they actually have line dancing classes) while a group of strange and sweet locals, kind of like your grandad’s mates, sat in the bar out front drinking Guinness. They really did an excellent Guinness there, would 100% recommend it.
If the government were to say you could have one mythical creature delivered to your door in lockdown, what would you ask for and why? – a unicorn etc.
Can I choose a Greek God? I feel like it could be quite jokes to hang out with Dionysis, the God of wine and parties… but then also I feel like he might be a bit of an arsehole and a liability so maybe I’d go for something a bit more chill, maybe a Pegasus or something. Cute horse to chill with, solid companion. Can go for a horse ride if ya fancy, or you can just fly the hell out of here.